Okaz Newspaper

NO. 13278
January 3, 2003

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Reporter: Abdul-Wahab Al-Zahrani

Nada Farhat: “Saudi Contemporary Art Lacks Valor”

“Saudi contemporary art lacks valor and art curricula in Saudi schools are rigid.”. That is the opinion of Saudi artist Nada Farhat who Okaz newspaper had the delight to interview during her solo exhibition titled “The Lost Arab World” in the Eastern Provence. The interview touched on issues regarding the beginnings of her path as an artist and her collaboration of studying medicine and painting.

Have you ever participated in group exhibitions in the past and how do you evaluate your work?

I have participated in four group exhibition in Saudi Arabia and in other Middle Eastern countries. Some of my contributions include various art competitions across the kingdom. As for evaluations, I am in a continuous process of evaluating my work as it further develops.

How do you manage to maintain your schedule as a medical student and a renowned artist?

I believe art to be my method of expression as well as a stress reliever. However, it does consume a large portion of my schedule.

From your opinion, to what extent does art contribute to the development of students’ talents?

School curriculums in the kingdom lack innovation. A student might still paint an image of a street, season or tree which indicates redundancy and lack of creativity and stimulation. I believe we need to plant seeds of courage in our students and encourage them with guidance.

What is your opinion on the present day accomplishments’ of contemporary art in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

True, I feel that Saudi art is evolving and is keeping up with present day art around the world. I find it to be a mixture of tribal heritage and modern art. However, it continuous to revolve with in limited boundaries and is distant from courage and freedom of expression. To the contrary, this differs from art in other areas around the Middle East and world wide.


How do you view the obstacles that restrict Saudi female artists from revealing their talents?

Art should not be limited by local social and cultural issues. The problem seems to emerge from the minority of  the society that do not encourage artistic expression do to the lack of education. From that view point, we notice the use of nick names to conceal the identity of those who wish to deliver a message.